River safety: A fisherman’s note | VailDaily.com
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River safety: A fisherman’s note

Austin Richardson

STATE BRIDGE ” Nothing ruins a fishing trip faster than having to swim.

Knowing this is the first step in avoiding an unwanted dip in the river. And in Colorado’s High Country, there’s nothing but cold water to greet those who capsize.

Well, there are also rocks to greet those who wind up in the drink.



Gorsuch Outfitters’ guide Chris David gives “the speech” to everyone who gets into the boat. Life jackets are the most important piece of gear available to fishermen on a raft (or drift boat as the case may be).

Tight buckles, the “headrest” seperate from the jacket itself and floating freely, can be the difference between smiles on the shore and an ambulance ride. The “headrest” attached to the back of the lifejacket allows a pocket of air to form around the floater’s head and neck. This can be a lifesaver to a person who’s gone overboard.



“Assume the downriver position” admonishes Chris David (who also goes by the nickname ‘doughboy’) not sure why. Feet first down the river, legs acting as shock absorbers, allow errant fishermen a chance to crawl to shore.

Beware of standing up in the river after swimming to shore. It’s easy to become entangled in rocks at the bottom of the river. A foot caught in the rocks of the river could spell disaster. Overcoming the flow of the river is a dicey proposition at best. The current is much stronger that yourself, believe it.

“Self-resuce” is a term not used loosely in this endeavor. It means, “if the boat tips over, save yourself and don’t worry about any gear you’ve brought along.”



David says, “everything in the boat is replacable, except for your life.”

Good advice.

Austin Richardson is an avid flyfisherman and spends as much time in the outdoors as allowed. He can be reached at (970) 748-2911 or at arichardson@vaildaily.com

Vail Colorado


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